The Karun Thakar Fund for the study of Asian and African textiles and dress is offered by Karun Thakar in collaboration with the V&A. The Fund offers scholarships and project grants to researchers and practitioners working anywhere in the world on any aspect of Asian or African textiles and dress.
The Fund aims to enrich the fields of Asian and African textiles and dress by supporting meaningful and innovative study and practice, foregrounding fresh perspectives and ground-breaking research in under-resourced subject areas.
The V&A holds one of the largest museum collections of Asian textiles and dress in the world, and the extensive private collections of Karun Thakar span the textiles and dress of both Asia and Africa. Using both collections as points of departure, the Fund promotes materials-based, object-led learning and advocates for new approaches to the research and interpretation of historic materials.
The Karun Thakar Fund is made possible by the contributions of its generous donors. The V&A is grateful for their support.
The Karun Thakar Fund offers one-time Scholarship Awards of up to £10,000 to university students focusing on any aspect of Asian or African textiles and dress. Scholarship Awards are offered every other year, and multiple awards are available in each round. The next round of applications opens in Spring 2023.
Students of any degree level attending any accredited university worldwide are eligible to apply, provided they can establish their research/practice is tangibly linked to Asian or African textiles and dress. Scholarship applicants' chosen courses need not be textile or dress-specific, however applicants must be able to demonstrate that their own research or practice within their chosen course will be Asian or African textile/dress-focused.
Scholarship Awards are intended for use towards tuition fees or maintenance costs. The amount of funding awarded is decided by the Selection Committee based on an applicant's needs. Students may need to find additional sources of funding to meet their total study costs.
The Karun Thakar Fund offers one-time Project Grants of up to £5000 (£10,000 in exceptional circumstances) in support of projects focused on any aspect of Asian or African textiles or dress. Project Grants are offered every other year, and multiple grants are available in each round. The next round of applications opens in Spring 2024.
Emerging/early-career researchers, practitioners, and curators, as well as community leaders, grassroot collectives and community-based arts organisations based anywhere worldwide are all eligible to apply, provided they can establish their project is tangibly linked to Asian or African textiles and dress. The Selection Committee is particularly keen to support those who have not previously received significant funding in support of their work.
Project Grants are intended for use towards unique project costs. For the purposes of the Fund, a 'project' constitutes an innovative, short-term event or discrete piece of work with concrete outputs and meaningful impacts, such as:
- Local exhibitions, conferences, workshops, or symposia, especially those mounted in underserved areas, unconventional spaces, or in collaboration with under-represented communities
- Digital projects, especially those enabling collection and/or research distribution or access
- The creation of new artwork
- The publication of work, including payment of image licensing fees
- Short-term research travel to regions of study
- Short-term training or material costs
- Other discrete projects with impactful outcomes in the fields of Asian or African textiles and dress
The total amount of funding awarded will be decided by the Selection Committee based on the applicant's submitted budget plan. Applicants may need to find additional sources of funding to meet their project's total costs.
The Karun Thakar Fund is now accepting Scholarship Award applications. The deadline to apply is 23:59 (11:59 pm) on 15 July 2023.
Please read the Scholarship Award Terms and Conditions carefully for detailed eligibility and application guidance before applying.
Karun Thakar, Collector & Fund founder
Gus Casely-Hayford, Director, V&A East
Christine Checinska, Senior Curator, Africa and Diaspora: Textiles and Fashion, V&A
Ben Evans, Editor, HALI Magazine
Avalon Fotheringham, Curator, South Asia, V&A
Lulu Lytle, Director, Soane Britain
Divia Patel, Senior Curator, South Asia, V&A
Siddhartha Shah, John Wieland 1958 Director Mead Art Museum, Amherst College
The Karun Thakar Fund blog brings you the latest updates throughout the year including calls for applications, winner announcements and profiles of awardees.